The UAE has been good to me
I came to Dubai in 1991 to work with the church as a volunteer and paid my way by performing as an entertainer. In those days my social network ranged from priests and pastors through to fire eaters and belly dancers.
In Dubai, I found my calling as an Anglican priest and in addition to this met my wife and got married in Holy Trinity Church on Oud Metha Road. Our kids have spent a large part of their lives growing up in the UAE and in that time I served the church in Jebel Ali, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, Ras al Khaimah and now I am the Senior Anglican Chaplain in Abu Dhabi. This country inspired me to write two books Christianity in the UAE – my tribute to the incredible interaction between the Christian community and the ruling families – and Jesus of Arabia, a book which highlights how living in the UAE has deepened my own faith in Jesus Christ.
Throughout all of this, I have come to appreciate many facets of Emirati life. In the midst of over 200 nationalities living here, there is a bedrock of traditional culture and faith which underpins the Emirati ethos of hospitality. It is a narrative which contradicts so many stereotypes that people have of the Muslim world. This is why I count it as a personal mission to share the story of the UAE with people back in the West so that they understand that in a global climate of increasing polarisation, fear and sectarianism – the UAE is modelling an alternative way.